GOVT TO WOO DIASPORA INVESTORS NEXT YEAR :MPOFU | Govt will hunt for diaspora and other investors next year, marked by the massive transformation of the Zimbabwe Investment Agency (ZIA) into a fully-fledged One Stop Shop (OSS) Investment Centre to enable investors obtain licences within five days.

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The target is to achieve an investment level of 25 percent of Gross Domestic Product.
This was revealed by Macro Economic Planning and Investment Promotion Minister Dr Obert Mpofu in a statement yesterday.

“The Ministry of Macro Economic Planning and Investment Promotion applauds and embraces the recent move by Government to adopt the Rapid Result Initiative (RRI) for the implementation of Zim-Asset. As the ministry responsible for investment promotion, the year 2017 will mark a paradigm shift in our approach to investment promotion as we employ the RRI to aggressively market the vast investment opportunities obtaining in the country,” he said.

Dr Mpofu said the target was to uplift the country’s investment inflows to Sadc levels.
“The target is to achieve an investment level of 25 percent of the GDP. In this regard, the ministry has lined up investment road shows to Zimbabwe’s major investment source markets as well as the BRICS countries.

“The promulgation of the Special Economic Zones Act in October this year by His Excellency President RG Mugabe has marked a new era on the investment arena that shall witness the country receiving triple investment inflows beginning year 2017,” he said.

Dr Mpofu noted that most BRICS countries rose to their current outstanding investment levels because of the implementation of the SEZs.BRICS countries are Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.He said Zimbabwe’s SEZs shall be broadly modelled along product specific, geographical area and industry specific SEZs.

The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development has since gazetted some of the fiscal incentives applicable to the SEZs.Dr Mpofu said his ministry planned to roll out the SEZs to all provinces in the country during the first quarter of 2017.

This is meant to prepare municipalities to begin the process of modelling SEZs that could be hosted by their provinces.

“The SEZs concept shall also be tailor-made for Zimbabweans living in the Diaspora. Zimbabwe is taking a cue from countries such as India and Ethiopia whose Diasporans contributed immensely to the development process of their countries,” said Dr Mpofu.

He added: “In this regard, the ministry will work in conjunction with line ministries to introduce Diaspora SEZs to facilitate the country to tap from the latent financial base which lies within the Diaspora. To this effect, a Diaspora Directorate was set within the ministry and a Diaspora Desk will be set by ZIA in order to ensure that SEZs models for the Diaspora are established in 2017.”

He said one of the main objectives of the new Diaspora policy under the Ministry of Macro-Economic Planning and Investment Promotion was to attract investments and to make it easy for communities to invest.

Visits have already been made to Canada, South Africa and the United Kingdom to attract investments.

The ministry has lined up a number of activities next year aimed at attracting investors into the country including the launch of “Invest in Zimbabwe” handbook, to aid in the dissemination of information to investors.

“We want to assure the investing public that the Zimbabwe Investment Agency will be rebranded and transformed into a fully-fledged One Stop Shop Investment Centre to meet world class standards for an effective and efficient investment agency in the first quarter of 2017.

“This shall be buttressed by the recent amendment of ZIA Act to legalise the setting up of OSS at ZIA and to allow investors to obtain investment licences within five working days,” said Dr Mpofu.

He said revamping of ZIA was meant to ease the investment process.“The OSS shall totally cut out bureaucracy and the tossing of investors from one office to the other. This will ensure that all investors are registered with ZIA and get efficient services from ZIA OSS,” added Dr Mpofu.

He said his ministry was in the process of setting up a new board for ZIA.
“The board shall be composed of highly qualified persons and is expected to spearhead Government’s 2017 investment thrust and ensure that investors obtain their investment licences or permits under one roof without being tossed from one office to the other.

“The new ZIA board will engage investors from all parts of the world including those from Africa such as Dangote to also promote intra-Africa trade and investment. It will not be business as usual at the OSS centre. ZIA will be given clear targets in line with our Zim-Asset,” said Dr Mpofu.

ZIA functions will also be decentralised in the same manner Government has created posts of regional investment offices in provinces.

“ZIA investment will be expected to be a hub of activities for local and international investors. ZIA will focus on joint ventures and ensuring that all investors regularly visit the centre to identify local and international investors,” said Dr Mpofu.

ZIA would be expected to focus on investments that add value to raw materials.“The current investment levels in Zimbabwe are below the regional averages.

This is the reason why the ministry will in 2017 drastically revamp the operations of ZIA and appoint a new board with clear investment targets,” explained Dr Mpofu.

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